Alberta Commercial Solar Installation: A Complete Guide

Dean Emerick

March 16, 2023

Alberta is known for its abundant sunlight; Calgary tops the list with an average of 2,405 hours and 333 days of sunshine per year. Edmonton is not far behind, with an average of 325 sunny days and 2,345 hours of sunshine per year. Other communities such as Red Deer, Grande Prairie, St. Albert, Medicine Hat, and Airdrie also receive a high amount of sunshine. These statistics make Alberta a prime location for solar installations.

Commercial solar installation has become increasingly popular in the province, with businesses recognizing the benefits of transitioning to clean, renewable energy sources.

commercial solar power in alberta

In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of Alberta commercial solar installation, the best practices to follow for a successful installation, and the key considerations when choosing a solar provider. Read on for a comprehensive overview of what solar power systems can do for your business! But if you would like to skip all of the research, you can get a customized report for your solar business case, and then get multiple competing Free Qualified Solar Quotes, including the incentives that are available for solar installations in your area.

Benefits of commercial solar panel installation in Alberta

benefits of alberta commercial solar installation

Alberta businesses can reap numerous benefits by switching to solar energy. Here are some of the most notable benefits:

1. Cost Savings

One of the most immediate benefits of a commercial solar program is cost savings on power bills. By generating electricity on-site, businesses can reduce their dependence on power companies and avoid the volatile pricing of conventional energy sources. Solar power can help businesses save thousands of dollars on their energy bills every year, providing long-term financial benefits.

2. Environmental Impact

Using solar energy is an excellent way for businesses to reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to a cleaner environment. With Alberta's plentiful sunlight, a commercial solar power system can help businesses decrease their reliance on fossil fuels for electricity generation and eventually minimize their greenhouse gas emissions.

This can help enhance their brand reputation and appeal by boosting your ESG Score and appealing to environmentally conscious customers. Subsequently, installing solar panels can put businesses one step ahead of their competitors.

3. Government Incentives

The Alberta government offers various funding opportunities for businesses to install solar panels. These programs change periodically but can significantly reduce installation costs and accelerate return on investment. But if you would like to skip all of the research, you can get multiple competing Free Qualified Solar Quotes, including the incentives that are available for solar installations in your area.

4. Increased Property Value

Solar panel installation can increase the value of a business property. Properties with solar panels have higher resale values and can attract eco-conscious buyers. Solar panels can also enhance the aesthetics of a property and demonstrate a business's commitment to sustainability.

5. Energy Independence

Commercial solar projects empower businesses to take control of their energy supply and reduce their reliance on the grid. By generating their own electricity along with battery backup, businesses are less susceptible to power outages and disruptions caused by grid failures and brownouts.

This can help maintain business continuity and ensure that critical operations and equipment remain powered during emergencies. Additionally, businesses can optimize their energy usage to align with their specific needs rather than relying on the grid's limitations and restrictions.

6. Minimal Maintenance

The commercial solar installation offers businesses a low-maintenance and long-lasting energy solution. Solar panels are extremely durable and can last for over 25 years with minimal maintenance required.

This means that once installed, businesses can enjoy reliable, low-cost energy for years without having to worry about expensive repairs or regular maintenance. So, by minimizing maintenance requirements, businesses can save both time and money, allowing them to focus on their core operations and maximize their profitability.

7. Hedging Against Rising Energy Costs

As conventional energy prices continue to rise, businesses that invest in solar systems can hedge against these price increases. Solar energy provides a stable and predictable energy source that can help businesses save money and remain competitive in the long term.

By considering these benefits, businesses can successfully make the switch to renewable energy and reap the rewards of commercial solar PV systems in Alberta.

8. Net Billing System

Net billing allows businesses with solar panels to sell excess electricity back to the grid, receiving payment for this power. This can result in even greater cost savings and revenue generation for businesses with high energy needs.

Best practices for installing solar panels

Although commercial solar offers numerous benefits, it is essential to follow industry best practices to ensure a smooth and successful installation process. To help ensure optimal results, it is recommended that businesses follow these best practices:

1. Choose an Experienced and Reputable Installer

To ensure that your commercial solar installation is successful, it is crucial to work with an experienced and reputable installer. It is essential on your side to look for a provider who has a proven track record of designing and installing high-quality solar systems. Check for certifications and customer reviews to verify the installer's expertise and reputation. But if you would like to skip all of the research, you can get multiple competing Free Qualified Solar Quotes, including the incentives that are available for solar installations in your area.

2. Conduct a Thorough Site Analysis

A thorough site analysis is essential to determine the optimal solar panel placement and design. The analysis should include an evaluation of factors such as shading, orientation, and roof angle. By conducting a comprehensive site analysis, businesses can maximize energy production and ensure that their solar system is tailored to their specific energy consumption needs.

3. Use High-Quality Components

To ensure that your solar power system operates efficiently and reliably, it's essential to use high-quality components. This includes selecting high-quality solar panels, inverters, and mounting systems. Using inferior components may result in lower annual energy production and an increase in maintenance requirements. All this will ultimately reduce the solar PV system's overall lifespan.

4. Obtain Necessary Permits and Approvals

Before installing solar power, it is important to obtain all necessary permits and approvals from local authorities. This includes obtaining building permits, electrical permits, and any other necessary approvals. Failure to obtain the required permits and approvals may result in costly delays and fines.

5. Ensure Proper Installation and Maintenance

Proper installation and ongoing maintenance are critical to the performance and lifespan of a commercial solar system. It's essential to follow manufacturer guidelines for installation and maintenance to ensure peak performance. Additionally, businesses should regularly inspect their solar system to identify any potential issues and address them promptly.

By following these best practices, businesses can ensure a successful commercial solar installation that delivers maximum efficiency, cost savings, excess energy, and environmental benefits.

Key considerations when choosing a solar installer

Choosing the right solar provider is crucial for a successful commercial solar power installation. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Expertise and Experience: As discussed above, it is essential to work with solar installers who have been in business for a while and have completed multiple successful projects.
  2. Customized Solutions: A good solar company should offer customized solutions tailored to specific business needs. They should assess the business's energy needs, site location, and other factors to design a solar system that meets those needs.
  3. Certifications: Check if the solar installer has relevant certifications from the relevant industry bodies. These certifications demonstrate that the installer has the necessary knowledge and skills to install solar systems safely and effectively.
  4. Warranty and Maintenance: Solar panel systems typically come with warranties of 20 to 25 years, but it's important to understand the details of the warranty, such as what is covered and for how long. Also, ask about the installer's maintenance plans and services to ensure that your system remains in good condition for years to come.
  5. Customer Reviews: Look for customer reviews and testimonials on the installer's website and third-party review sites. This will give you a good idea of the quality of their work, customer service, and overall experience.
  6. Cost and Financing Options: Get quotes from multiple installers and compare their costs and financing options. Make sure to understand the financing terms, such as interest rates, monthly payments, and any fees or charges. Or get a Free Quote From Multiple Qualified Installers for the best solar contractors in your area!
  7. Local Knowledge: It's always good to work with solar installers who have local knowledge of the area, including weather patterns, local regulations, and any incentives or rebates available for solar installations in your area.

What are the disadvantages of a solar panel system?

While there are many benefits to commercial solar panel systems, there are also a few potential disadvantages to consider. These can include:

  1. High upfront costs: The initial investment to install a solar panel system can be significant, although this cost has been decreasing over time. Moreover, with certain federal and provincial incentives, this cost can be further minimized. And if that doesn't help, the average payback period of a commercial solar system is around 10 years only. This means that you can recover your initial investment within a decade and start enjoying significant cost savings on your energy bills for the remainder of the system's lifespan - usually more than 25 years.
  2. Weather-dependent energy production: Solar panels rely on sunlight to generate electricity, meaning that energy production can be impacted by weather conditions such as cloudy days or storms. But the good news is that Alberta enjoys an average of over 320 days of sunshine a year. With some places even receiving over 330 days of sunshine a year. Having said that, the occasional cloudy days still produce some energy. Additionally, businesses can install backup batteries or use a net billing system to ensure they have access to power during periods of low energy production.
  3. Limited energy storage: Energy storage has been a significant challenge for solar panel systems, as, without batteries or other energy storage solutions, energy production is dependent upon the availability of sunlight. Plus, the energy usage must be balanced with the production in real-time. However, recent advancements in energy storage technology have provided new opportunities for solar-powered businesses to store excess energy generated during the day for use in the evening or during periods of low sunlight.
  4. Location-specific energy production: The amount of energy produced by solar panels can vary based on factors such as geographic location and shading from nearby buildings or trees. This can impact the efficiency and effectiveness of the system. However, with thoughtful planning, proper design, and installation techniques, these factors can be taken into account to maximize energy production. Experienced solar installers can assess your site's specific conditions and provide customized solutions to optimize your solar panel system's performance. Additionally, regular maintenance and cleaning of the solar panels can help ensure maximum efficiency.

Conclusion: Alberta solar power systems

Alberta commercial solar installation provides significant benefits for businesses, including cost savings, environmental impact, government incentives, increased property value, energy independence and more. By following best practices and choosing the right solar provider, businesses can ensure a successful installation and reap the rewards of renewable energy.

Commercial solar power in Albert: FAQs

How much energy does a business need in Alberta?

The answer to how much solar energy a specific business requires can vary depending on factors such as the size of the building, the industry, and the equipment used. It is best to consult an experienced solar provider beforehand to determine the appropriate size and number of solar panels needed to meet a business's energy requirements.

What is the average cost to install an entire solar system in Alberta?

The cost to install a commercial solar system in Alberta can vary depending on factors such as the size of the system, the complexity of the installation, the exact location, and the equipment used. An experienced solar provider is able to offer a customized quote based on your business's specific needs and circumstances.

Do solar panels need planning permission for commercial buildings?

Permits for commercial solar installations vary by region. Therefore, it is recommended to check with your local municipality to confirm the regulations and requirements in your area before installing solar panels. Some buildings or sites may have specific restrictions or requirements that need to be followed.

Are residential and commercial solar the same?

Residential and commercial solar are two distinct yet related types of solar technology. Residential systems use solar panels to generate electricity for individual homes, while commercial systems rely on large-scale photovoltaics to provide energy for businesses and organizations. Both involve installing solar modules that capture sunlight and convert it into energy. However, residential systems generally use fewer panels since they supply smaller amounts of power. In contrast, commercial systems tend to require more complex equipment with more components in order to generate the amount of electricity needed.

What is a bi-directional meter?

A bidirectional meter is an electrical device that is capable of measuring both electricity consumed and generated by a device. It measures the net difference in energy exchanged between a consumer, such as a household or business, and a renewable energy source like solar panels. The bidirectional meter keeps track of this two-way flow of electricity, which is essential for accurate billing and tracking of energy usage.

How much electricity can a commercial solar panel generate?

Usually, a solar panel will generate around 200-350 Wp of energy in bright sunlight. The output of solar panels has been increasing in recent years and many new panels can output 400 Wp or more. This is enough to power homes and businesses with reliable renewable energy sources when panels are wired together. Investing in commercial solar panels can be incredibly beneficial for your organization as it's one of the most efficient ways to reduce electricity costs while also reducing your carbon footprint. 

Can hail damage solar panels?

Yes, as much as it can damage your roof or the windshield on your car, but only in extreme situations. But keep in mind that the industry standard is built with weather in mind. Tested in climates around the world and installed on millions of buildings, they have been proven to last.